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Poll: The Christie Plan, the Prieto Plan, or Some Other Plan for Atlantic City?

The governor and the Assembly speaker are going at each other hammer and tongs over what to do in Atlantic City. Does either have a clue?

On Wednesday, Gov. Chris Christie held another press conference on the dire financial situation facing Atlantic City. He urged Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) to post a bill (S-1711) that the Senate has already passed that would let the state take control of the resort's finances. As part of that, the state would have the latitude to renege on union contracts.

Christie has been holding near-daily press conferences -- countered by daily responses from Prieto -- who has refused to post the bill. He has said the city is paying too much to too many workers under union contracts. He even announced the state is suing the city to make sure it pays the school district the $34 million it is required to pay to keep the schools open -- Atlantic City is a month behind on its payments.

Countering Christie, Prieto last night unveiled his own plan, which would protect the unions. It would require casinos to make payments in lieu of property taxes to keep the city afloat, create a five-member committee to adopt a financial plan for the city, and have that body control specific city duties. After a year, if the city does not meet certain financial benchmarks, the committee would gain even more control.

What do you think should happen next?

  • I support Christie's plan. There is no other way to see that the city remains solvent and meets all of its obligations -- declaring bankruptcy is not an option. And it's crucial to keep the schools open, even if city workers have to take a pay cut.

  • While I don't like Christie’s plan, I think it’s the better solution. Prieto is merely posturing to support Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop in his likely gubernatorial bid next year. Politics have no place in this issue.

  • The workers should be paid what they were promised. It sounds as if Christie is still running for president, or maybe vice president. He has done this before and he should not be allowed to continue to undermine public-worker unions and their collective-bargaining agreements.

  • I don't trust the state to do any better in Atlantic City. Look how long it has held control of school districts in other cities. How did that work out? Test scores remain low, and lead has been found in the water in half of Newark’s schools.

  • I know this is a bad situation and something must be done, but I don't know enough to recommend a solution.

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